Active interoceptive inference and the emotional brain

Seth, Anil K and Friston, Karl J (2016) Active interoceptive inference and the emotional brain. Philosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences, 371 (1708). p. 20160007. ISSN 0962-8436

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We review a recent shift in conceptions of interoception and its relationship to hierarchical inference in the brain. The notion of interoceptive inference means that bodily states are regulated by autonomic reflexes that are enslaved by descending predictions from deep generative models of our internal and external milieu. This re-conceptualization illuminates several issues in cognitive and clinical neuroscience with implications for experiences of selfhood and emotion. We first contextualize interoception in terms of active (Bayesian) inference in the brain, highlighting its enactivist (embodied) aspects. We then consider the key role of uncertainty or precision and how this might translate into neuromodulation. We next examine the implications for understanding the functional anatomy of the emotional brain, surveying recent observations on agranular cortex. Finally, we turn to theoretical issues, namely, the role of interoception in shaping a sense of embodied self and feelings. We will draw links between physiological homoeostasis and allostasis, early cybernetic ideas of predictive control and hierarchical generative models in predictive processing. The explanatory scope of interoceptive inference ranges from explanations for autism and depression, through to consciousness. We offer a brief survey of these exciting developments.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Research Centres and Groups: Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Depositing User: Marianne Cole
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2016 10:42
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 17:47

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